Recently in FK Site News Category

Shutting down

After returning to the blog for the first time in - let's be honest - over two years, I came to realize that the installation is outdated, vulnerable and generally in bad shape.
Apart from that, it no longer represents who I am I guess. I've moved one, don't feel or have the need to share all kinds of ideas and thoughts with the world on this site. If I wanted to do that, I'd be (more) active on social media, which I ain't either.

So, we've come to a point where it is better to clear out the rubbish, take down the ancient and obsolete and move on.

I'm setting free these bits and bytes, 1's and zeroes, allow them to return to the digital streams that have now become much of out lives.

Maintenance - availability

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I know I've been pretty silent on the blog for the past months. It's not that there's nothing happening in my life - coz there is - but I haven't been feeling like updating/blogging about it.

That being said, you may even see this blog drop off the face of the web for a while, because I'm making some technical changes under the hood.

Maintenance - Completed

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This blog is down for maintenance. Please enjoy this placeholder.
Update : the blog is back and active. Enjoy!

Heads up

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Due to a continuous spam run on the comments of this blog - for those that have no idea : about 20.000 spam comments a day - I've made some changes in how things are handled in the back end. I banned a complete Chinese IP range which was abused all the time. Yes it's like using a cannon to kill a mosquito but unless China starts taking care of it's own mosquito's (in this case, spammers) they'll get tossed in with the crooks, too bad. Clean up the act and the range can be reviewed.

This drastic measure alone has already cut back spam by 50% (for the time being), but I've just turned on some more plugins and finetuned some others to help lower the footprint of this blog. If you suddenly are unable to post or leave a comment, shoot me a mail and I'll look into it early April.

Yes, no updates for a while due to limited internet access. I can read my mail, but can't send long answers or post blog entries. So be it. I have a bathroom to build anyway :)

Down for maintenance

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This blog is down for maintenance. Please be patient while we whip bits and bytes back into submission and restore law and order.

System changes

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I just updated/upgraded the system powering this blog to the latest stable release. It was supposed to be nothing but a bug fix release, yet I'm currently looking at an entirely different user interface. The upgrade itself, was as is most often the case, a pain in the ass once again.

It doesn't make sense to have to delete everything you got, and then rebuild it. If you'd have to tear down the walls of your living room every time you want a new wallpaper, people would revolt as well. Anyway, it seems to be up and running - if this post appears that is - and I hope you'll let me know if some things have gone haywire.

Ok, that post didn't work as it should have. I think I've fixed the main index now, but it seems the CSS is not being loaded as it should be. I may be able to fix that as well, who knows?

Update : reverted to default templates, and even those seem to be messed up, throwing up errors left and right. Why can things never be plain easy? More troubleshooting, pardon the mess.

Update 2 : apparently, MT5 needs a website in order to be able to publish a blog. Well, there you go! If you want to drive a car, you need to have a garage to put it in, and that garage needs to be supplied by us, and you get to pick out 12 different colors, but that's it. Fuckers! If I had known that 6A had gone out of their way to make their product idiot proof but at the same time extremely annoying for users that are NOT technically challenged, I would never have upgraded. Time to take a look at the competition next week, and see if I can actually find a tool that'll do exactly what I want it to do and nothing more or less.

MT5 is the Windows Vista of blogging : it knows everything better, yet fails to actually work the way the user wants.

Six degrees of...

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How one thing leads to another... I was looking for information about a song online, and my Google search lead me to a result that could hold the answer. However, as I followed the link, I ended up at a fake anti virus page mimicking my computer and telling me it was infected. Yeah, right. I'm not an internet newbie, you know?

Anyway, as I went looking for a way to report this scam I was pointed to Google Webmaster Tools - for which I signed up years ago - where I could indeed report a spam site. Not sure whether my find would be filed under spam, but I figure it's close enough.

While exploring the data WMT holds for my various sites, I noticed that two URL's were listed as not being found. One of them was an external link - which I can do little about, since they are linking it incorrectly - but the other URL was one of my own! Aha, time to fix that error. To make a long and hardly interesting story shorter : I just fixed a linking error that had been on the site since 2002. No clue how I never noticed it before, but it's gone now. Bring in the crawler :)

Site upgrade

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I just finished installing a new(er) version of the software that powers this blog, so if you run into anything that doesn't work as expected, please let me know. Thanks.

Off to kill some Horde now.

Comments again?

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I got into touch with my webhost and was assured that they did send me a note about disabling the script before actually doing so. Apparently, I didn't get the that mail, but nonetheless if they tell me they sent it, I believe them.

I've been doing some changes on the back end of the install and comments should be enabled again for now, though they may be turned off again if the measures taken turn out to be insufficient.

Comments? Erm... no

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I received a new note that it seems feedback (commenting) on my blog is disabled, so as I wasn't able to fall asleep I set out to track down the cause. After taking a look at the files in detail, it seems the script powering the feedback function was deliberately renamed by - I assume - my host. I'll be contacting them later today or tomorrow, especially since I had replied to their "server move message" and I've got several anti-spam measures installed to prevent abuse.

I'm not pleased at all, and honestly am rather surprised with them taking this kind of measure without informing me.

Thanks for the report, Ash!

Server Move

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I received notice from my web host that the site and account will be moved to another server later today. Apparently it has some negative impact on the other users on the server, so it'll be moved to another server that I suspect is less loaded. I have already opened a line of communication with my host to see what I can do to lower the overall load on the server.

If the site suddenly disappears, loads slowly or shows other intermittent problems, please bear with us as the move is completed and we work with all parties involved to make runs smooth(er) again.

Yikes!

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Editing templates in the middle of the night may not be such a good idea after all. When I got out of bed, I noticed part of my sidebar navigation had disappeared. When I checked the template itself, sure enough, it had been cut off somewhere, which instantly explained the lacking data in the output.

However, I didn't back up the template before I started messing around in it last night - it's only a very small change - so I had to start looking for a backup I had made before. I found one dating from 2007 I believe and was able to recreate most of the template it seems. I'm quite convinced it will not properly validate now, and that some info will be missing, but all of that will have to wait a week or more.

It would be best if I just recoded the custom template from scratch, or used a plain standard one, but neither option really appeals to me. I don't think this mishap is the end of this blog though, but who knows?

More options on the blog.

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Since I've got to stay awake for quite a couple of more hours - starting night shift tomorrow evening - I've spent some time adding a couple of social sites to the blog. Well, not exactly the sites themselves, but rather links to submit FK content to them easily, so you can use them to their full capacity, also with this blog. If you are missing your favorite, let me know and I may consider adding it after I get back from a week of partying in Ibiza. Mind you, leave it in a comment, I can't guarantee that the neurons I used to store your request in will still be present when I return, grin.

Down for maintenance

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This blog may become unavailable, unreachable or unreadable over the next few hours. We will be performing maintenance on the front and back end. A notice will be made in this post when we're doing banging on things.

Update : Back end maintenance 75% completed. Now cleaning up remainders. Starting front end maintenance next.

Update 2 : Maintenance completed. Additional identity verification options have been enabled. You can now also comment using your OpenID, LiveJournal or Vox identity.

Update 3 : Thunderbirds are go! If you experience any issues, please mail me about it.

Update 4 (7 hours later) : I managed to ban my own IP address for all of the domains on the server, grin. I should have noticed when I wasn't able to access some of my other domains, but as the blog here was fine, I figured it was a hiccup. When I wasn't able to access even more sites hosted on the same machine, I knew something was amiss. Luckily I had a good clue what it could be so I removed the incorrect entry and regained access.

Even though it was fixed easily, I wonder where and when I managed to ban myself. A new UI is always a bit tricky at first, but I'd guess I would have noticed such an action. Unless... one of the automated security scripts kicked in and banned me. Almost certain that's what happened. Now I only need to figure out which one, and why.

3K Placeholder

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This is a placeholder for the 3000th entry on this blog since it was first published back in August 2001. Yes, believe it or not, but FK has been going for over 6 years now, and I intend to add another 6 years to it at least.

I'm not yet sure whether I will replace the text in this entry marking the 3000 milestone with something else, or just leave it in as it is. Time will tell, won't it?

Notice

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On December 18th the server used to host FK (and various other sites of mine) will be retired and all accounts moved to a new and upgraded server. While I know it may have an impact on some levels, I have not yet had the time to check out all the details. If you see the blog become unavailable or throw an error of some kind, please keep on trying for at least 24 hours. After that time, by all means, let me know about it so I can look into it.

I'll be monitoring the process and try to fix things as soon as possible. I don't expect too much of a problem, but one never knows.

Feeds change

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As I was wrapping up loose ends and cleaning out mailboxes on my last day off, I noticed that this blog used to have mail feed powered by bloglet.com. Now, that service has been on and off for ever, but most of all is no longer being actively maintained by the original creator, thus quite unreliable.

FeedBlitz is providing a converter to import all bloglet subscriptions to their service, so if you previously subscribed to the friedkitten.com feed, you hopefully now will start receiving the feed through FeedBlitz. I've removed the feed from bloglet and reflected the change in service here as well.

If you've got any questions... ask!

Comment/feedback woes

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Something strange is going on in regard to comments posted to this blog, and even more so to them appearing after being moderated. Rest assured that testing has been done and an investigation into the matter is ongoing. I'll update as I learn more about the problem and what triggers it.

Update 11:16 : I've been looking deeper into the problem and have posted about it on a support forum. I hope to hear from someone knowledgeable with the MT commenting system to verify that a problem/bug indeed exists. This still doesn't explain how exactly it was caused, but I'll bug Nadia about some server details.

Troubleshooting

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Kudos to Ash, Hil and Joco who have been helping me troubleshoot why comments were no longer appearing on the blog. I couldn't have fixed it without you! Well, at least I think it's fixed for now, I've been tweaking plugins and finally found the possible culprit : MT Keystrokes. It had worked without incident for many years but apparently broke down during some recent upgrade.

Whenever someone left a comment, there was no entry in the logs, so I didn't know someone attempted to leave feedback! The eternal bit bin swallowed all the bits I suppose...

Feel free to comment on this or other entries, as I still may need to adjust some settings in order to get a balanced system. The comments won't appear automagically - too much chance to get abused - but they should turn up as I moderate and publish them.

Update 14h30 : After relaxing the limitations, the junk folder quickly filled up with spam comments. I've been working on fixing the issue since 11h30 this morning. Three new comment spam control mechanisms have been installed - numerous others were tested and uninstalled. Neither of them should affect regular readers or commenters. For next few days, if you post a comment here, feel free to also tell me in a mail or during a live conversation so I can verify my new settings. Thanks in advance!

Update 18h00 : Joco just said that he could leave comments again, but couldn't see comments made earlier using Opera. It certainly works on my three machines, using Firefox as well as IE. If anyone can confirm the Opera problem, let me know. I'm quite convinced it's nothing but a cache problem, so clearing the cache of the browser should do the trick. If not... tell me, please?

Food, yummy!

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I've got a nice kettle of spaghetti on, and the sauce is heating as well. I made loads of it, probably enough to feed a whole platoon, but I've thrown about two thirds of it in the freezer for it to be frozen. That way I can grab a portion whenever I feel like having a yummy meal.

I've got one post ready to publish, but that'll have to wait till I'm on the desktop - which is now suffering from a failing mainboard fan, so I'll have to look into replacing that fan soon - because I don't have all the FTP details I need on the laptop.

In other news, new options have been added to friedkitten.com, to make your life easier and make this site easier to be found and indexed. You can add FK to your google toolbar and a sitemap (xml) is now available for all the sexy search engines out there. There was a small problem when I just added the new "Add to Google Toolbar" functionality, but that is now solved. I've tested with IE 6.0.2900.something with googlebar version 4.0.513.blahblah and everything works fine. If you run into problems, give me a yell.

Sorry about the problem when using IE

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I just noticed there is a problem with the blog correctly displaying for people using IE. As far as I can see, this is caused by the rotating ad code for one of my textads that I recently added. The problem does NOT exist when reading the site with Firefox, so I'm not really sure how to solve it.

I have already put in a support ticket with LW because their code is not xhtml compliant, and I think that may have something to do with it. I hope they reply soon and fix the annoyances I reported, and then I'll see if that was indeed the cause of the display error. If it doesn't improve things, I'll remove the rotating ads from my blog January 1st, and stick with regular textads.

In the mean time, be a good netizen and use a good browser, will you? :)

Update : I just received a reply from LW, and they will be fixing the code and make it xhtml compliant today. I guess that by the time I return from work, things should look better. If not, then at least I can start looking for a solution myself.

Ashamed

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You know how I always make fun of people that manage to let their domain name expire? Well, today the joke is certainly on me! I managed to let friedkitten.com expire because I was under the impression that it would be up for renewal before september, but the difference in date notation between the US and Europe caught me off guard. 08/09/2005 ain't september 8th apparently, but rather august 9th 2005 and when I logged on this morning, FK was gone.

Why can't everyone just use the international date format of yyyy/mm/dd instead? That would be so much easier! Anyway, nothing really bad happened this time and FK is still firmly in my hands so it should reappear soon enough. Always remember that if something seems incorrect with the main friedkitten.com domain, try pointing your browser to www.friedkitten.be as an alternative. If they both are down, contact me, because then something really is wrong.

Ah, another lesson learned I suppose. Off to work in a few minutes because I have to start early today. Then I've got a full 4 days off - because I took up some leave - before early shifts call again.

Small changes

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I just changed some things around on the admin side of this blog, most of them (possibly) affecting comment posting. I'll be monitoring the logfiles and hopefully catch problems with the new settings before they arise.

Changes : Updated MT-KeyStrokes and installed MT-Proxyplug. MT-Proxyplug is also installed on one of my other blogs (running MT2.661) to see if it works for that (slightly older) version as well. If it does, it'll be implemented on all blogs maintained or serviced by me.

Off to finish my to-do list now :)

It's still a work in progress - obviously - but today I got TypeKey authentication working. The cryptic error "The site you're trying to comment on has not signed up for this feature. Please inform the site owner." that I received before when signing in was of no help at all.

While it might be a fine error message for a reader, if I get such an error as the admin of this blog, it contains NO information that tells me how to resolve the problem. Way to go!

So... I've been playing with the commenting setup and here is the current status :

Comments from Unregistered Users are possible, but will need moderation from me before they appear on the site (which could take a few hours). They also need to leave name + e-mail address.

Comments from Registered Users are accepted by default, providing they leave an e-mail address as well.

All comments are checked and verified against MT-Blacklist, and the No_follow tag has been installed to make comment spamming useless (no pagerank gained by leaving your spam here!).

I've edited the Archives list a bit, until I figure out to get it in a nice pulldown menu again. It's probably just a few lines of code, but I gotta get those right.

Working hard

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on restoring data - well, that part is done - and adding all those tiny details that made this blog what it was. While it looks damn ugly right now, fixing the CSS is not my top priority right this second, as it is something that will follow when everything else is tweaked again.

Your daily FK fix, now guaranteed!

As I noticed a problem with the main friedkitten.com domain earlier on, I took the necessary steps to provide a backup domain pointing to the same content : friedkitten.be.

While this doesn't solve problems with the main hosting account that serves multiple domains and content, it should provide enough back up in case the domain redirection fails somehow. Something that is far more likely to happen than my host going down for a long time.

Make sure you bookmark friedkitten.be in addittion to friedkitten.com - I wouldn't want you go cold turkey when you can't get your daily FK fix!

FK Photogallery

Just spent quite some time bringing my half-assed botched Gallery install back up to date. Ever since a few upgrades went totally wrong, I have been experiencing problems with it, but it seems I was finally able to fix most of them.

Unfortunately, one album somehow disappeared into thin air, so I had to remove it from the list. I may or may not reupload all the missing photographs but for the time being it's not on my to-do list. At least not in a very high position.

I'm gonna leave the install as it is - if it works : good, if you experience errors : too bad - and possibly drop it all and get something else installed. Depending on disk space issues it might be removed completely over time.

Oh, to make things even more interesting, there have been no new photos added, which only shows that it ain't being used much by me.

New function enforces comment limit

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Even though MT-Blacklist is doing a very good job protecting this blog from comment spam, I've just installed an additional script to close comments after a certain amount of time and inactivity. While this means readers won't be able to comment on pretty old entries, that doesn't really matter as hardly anyone does. It's very rare to get comments on archived entries, apart from spam comments that is.

The benefit of the script is that the time window for spammers becomes smaller, because there'll be less comments to spam on, and a higher chance of me noticing such an occurence. All this text to inform you that if you click on a comment link but don't get an option to actually leave a comment, this is quite normal and intended behaviour. It shouldn't happen on "recent" posts though. As always, if you notice problems or run into trouble, feel free to let me know!

In other and slightly related news, I've decided to discard all mail not arriving at the official FK e-mail address. I used to have a catch-all activated, but since spammers just love(d) to fuck up my domain(s) there is no other solution I think. Since a few seconds, all non-official e-mail address using mail goes straight into the bit bucket. This includes some of the previous addresses I created, but that were never used. They may still be mentioned on the blog in older entries though, but you shouldn't use those anymore.

Celebration

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friedkitten.com is celebrating... when I started this blog exactly 3 years ago, I didn't think it would take off like it did. Close to 36.000 unique visitors, over 2000 comments and over 1800 posts made.

In order to reward you, the readers that keep on coming back, I've decided to give away a CD (and some stickers). Now, who should I award this CD to? I decided to include everyone who left feedback on the last 100 posts, and here is the list of people that are competing :

Ashtronaut (USA) [1]
Joco (Belgium) [2]
Little Wabbit (Belgium) [3]
Tine (Belgium) [4]
Zwork (Belgium) [5]
ChefQuickx (USA?) [6]
Sheilah (USA?) [7]
Heather (USA) [8]
Sara (Belgium) [9]
nongirlfriend (USA) [10]
Diosa (USA) [11]
"S" (???) [12]
Jess (Belgium) [13]
Nadia (Belgium) [14]
Bugs (???) [15]
Phyre Bitzshe (USA) [16]
Shelley (New Zealand) [17]
Dimi (Belgium) [18]
Smeg (USA) [19]
Fiona (???) [20]
Jay (UK) [21]
Zoe (Belgium) [22]

That's 1 chance in 22 you've got to win! Now I'll have to find a fair way to pick a number out of the range 1-22... I think I'll have my ferrets help me out with that later this week. Keep an eye open for the announcement of the winner!

More goodies for me

I'm probably the only person excited about this, but yesterday the wonderful folks at Hosting Matters rolled out upgrades on all their webhosting deals. Another 4GB (19GB allowed now) of traffic/month to burn, a total of 325MB space to launch or expand current projects and a free extra MySQL DB. And they totally redesigned their site...

Oh, I've changed the date/time format on this blog from the silly AM/PM notation to a 24h notation - I think it makes much more sense. Those of you that have no clue what I'm talking about, it's really easy : 11AM equals 11:00 and 11PM equals 23:00. Not too hard, right?

Convinced

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WordPress 1.2 was released yesterday and today I upgraded my test blog that was still running version 1.02. It took me about 5 minutes to download the new version, extract it, upload it to the server, run the upgrade scrip, find and read the instructions to import my older MT entries and actually import them to WP 1.2.

5 minutes, can you imagine trying to do that with MT? The rebuild of over 1750 entries and close to 2000 comments alone would take longer than that, not including the actual importing, and all things that comes with it.

I might be starting to hack the WP templates tuesday evening and wednesday, read up on the WP tags and move the whole shebang away from MT. The only thing I'm not sure about yet is the security of WP, and especially version 1.2 since it's only been out a matter of hours.

Another thing I'll have to do is look into the transformation of the two other MT blogs I run (or techically manage) and how/if/when they should be moved as well. I can't do it all at once :)

Error hunting... (boring entry)

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When I started running my various category pages through the W3C XHTML validator I should have known upfront that they wouldn't validate, because I had imported old (blogger) entries into MT. And those very first blogger entries were coded in HTML3.1 or 4, I don't even recall, but they certainly are not XHTML compliant.

I've been working for the past hour or so on cleaning up the biggest mess and managed to go from 379 errors when validating the "normal" category to only 57 at the last count. While I type up this entry I'm doing a complete rebuild of all 1700+ entries in this blog, the monthly archives and the category archives. It'll take a while, that's for sure!

What will the end result be? Nothing major, just less coding errors/warnings on my blog when validating it, a couple of hours wasted and another geeky post.

Sounds like me :)

Maintenance Notice - Optimizing MT install

I'm working on various parts of the back-end of this blog. It has both become sluggish in commenting, updating and rebuilding and when I logged into it with FTP today, it was unable to show me all archive files due to the mass of them.

I've started moving the archives around and ordering them in dirs per year to make (and keep) things more manageable as it was quickly getting out of hand. Expect some things to be broken over the next hour(s) while I work my way through everything and determine what has to remain, move or can be deleted.

After some hard thinking I decided to move the monthly and daily archives into a structure like this :

%Y/Monthly/%Y_%m.html (for monthly archives)
%Y/%m/Daily/%Y_%m_%d.html (for daily archives, d'uh)

This seems be a good mixture to easily distinguish archives, yet don't go too far with splitting things out. I've also removed 1595 individual entry files that were - as far as I can tell - no longer used. Instead of deleting them, I rar'ed them and stuck them in a temporary directory for the time being.

Stand by for a complete rebuild! Some quick calculations tell me that I've saved about 15MB in space, which is definitely not bad.

[They're coming down seems like an appropriate lyrics excerpt from the Front 242 track W.Y.H.I.W.Y.G to go with this entry, don't you think?]

Boring!

I tried, I really did. But I failed - I just have to tell you that I've been toying around with the various MT templates again, and I've been reading looooong threads about rebuild times, comment posting delays etc. I've turned off automated rebuilding on one template so far, and dropped individual archives for now. First tests show me that nothing broke by doing so, but please : if you run into something that doesn't work, lemme know.

Photogallery upgrade

I had to take the photogallery offline for a few minutes because I had to patch some things - there's been a rather important security fix that needed to be installed asap - so that's what I did. You probably won't notice much difference apart from a slightly changed look, but there are some new possibilities in this release that I'll be checking out later.

Upgrades and delays

Apparently I missed the release of Movable Type 2.661 almost a week ago, and I only recently found out that it had been released. I wonder why there hasn't been a mailinglist annoucement, coz I don't think I missed it.

I've only upgraded one of my sites (bodymodification.be) to it for now, as there seems to be a problem with MT2.661 and MT-Blacklist 1.62. Jay Allen is working hard on releasing a fix for the blacklist (a beta version is available in case you want to help test it) so I figure he'll be able to get the problems worked out over the next days. While I don't really suffer from comment spam (knock on wood) I don't think I'll be taking my chances in combining two scripts that have known problems right now.

I'll be upgrading friedkitten.com and Alex Blogje to MT 2.661 and the fixed blacklist in due time.

Update : both sites have been moved to MT2.661 as Jay released MT-Blacklist 1.63rc1 a few minutes ago. Everything still seems to work fine.

A round of... please

I've been playing around with some very tiny things on the blog - I've made the "category label" link to the list with all entries in that category, and it does so everywhere, except of course in the category archive itself.

While I tested the site with IE - I sometimes feel that I just have to launch that monstrosity - I noticed that IE once again complained about errors on the page, even though nor Mozilla nor the W3C XHTML validator complain about anything.

I started looking at the output and source of the page to see if I could pinpoint any problems at the line and character count that IE referred to. I soon enough realized that I didn't escape some characters in my category descriptions and as they are publicized through javascript, that just had to be the problem. Instead of looking for a way to escape them - which is normally done by using a backslash - I rewrote some of the description and now IE has got nothing to complain about anymore. So, there you go, whining browser :)

And there you are, dear reader... I go hunting down browser specific bugs at three in the morning, just for you. How's that for service?

(Applause)

Ah, thank you. You're welcome.

Reorganized.

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I did some reorganizing on my links and separated the blogs from the rest, and added 3 Internet Radio stations to that last section : PlanetSoul Network Radio, SomaFM and Netmusique.com.

In the "Blogs" section, eller (DJ Testosterone) was added and in the "Other Links", LiquidGeneration was removed. I'm all happy again now :)

Maintenance

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I've just done some maintenance on three sites, because of a security issue that was found in MT2.64 - they've all be upgraded to MT2.65 now. See the post from Ben Trott over at the MT homepage, and while you're there, read the announcement for MT3.0 as well!

While I was happily transferring files, I decided to replace MT-Blacklist with the latest version as well, and update the blacklist it uses.

It's all done now, and we're back off to blogging land!

Update : Yikes! After a hailstorm that came down, we're now having SNOW. It ain't much, and it doesn't seem to stick around for now, but it's always fun to see the first snow of the winter!

More graphical elements?

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Sorry for scaring all of you away, but as you might have noticed, I dug up the old ServMe cartoon that I had drawn a few years back in Prague, I believe. I'm well aware that Halloween has passed, but I figured that this blog needed a bit more graphical elements.

Right now I've just done a quick hack of it, but I should be able to make it into a nice transparent picture that I can use no matter what skin I decide to slap onto the blog. That might be something I'll do over the next days/weeks/months. Does it show that I have a short attention span?

Update : the quick 'n dirty version has been replaced by a smoother transparent image, that works well on (almost) all colors.

Preparing the future of FK

If you visited FK over the past hour, you might have noticed all kinds of strange things going on. Well, I mean stranger as usual. I was playing around with some archive settings and have enabled category based archiving, because I've expanded the number of archives over the past weeks.

Luckily enough I was able to do all this without breaking anything essential - I think - and without downtime. Sure, the layout looked crap every now and then, but that should be rectified too.

In order to make things easier - both for myself as for readers looking for information - I've added a category "Security Alerts" and today I added "Product Review", as I hope to be able to do more of that in the future.

Noteworthy article : Mail server flaw opens Exchange (5.5 and 2000) to spam.

Work under the hood

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Hey, apologies to all the people that popped in this morning and thought they ended up at the wrong blog - I would have given you a fair warning about the changes, if I knew it myself. However, after reading some things last night, I decided to dive right into it...

Shelley : I know most MT blogs "look" the same due to the skinning that goes on, however, I think that the technique itself ain't bad, and allows for nice (and easy) customization. And I was bored with the old layout anyway. So please bare with me while I figure it all out.

As I was laying in bed last night, it dawned on me that 95% of the cookie and alternate stylesheet troubles I'm having are caused by the fact that I serve a cookie from a different server. Just before I hopped into bed, this awkward feeling about cookies working fine (sort of) on Firebird, yet not in Mozilla and IE stuck with me. And my guess was right : I had set up Mozilla not to accept cookies from third party servers. In IE I couldn't find the option to manage cookies in such a detail, but I'm convinced it's the same problem.

Where does that leave me? I'm gonna keep on working on the skinning/templates so that everything is ready and workable/readable. However, the style switching ability will be disabled for the time being, to make sure no one gets stuck with a function that doesn't work, or a plain blog without CSS style applied (as this sometimes seems to happen in Firebird now).

When all of the "under the hood" work is done, I'll probably be moving some things around on the server to drop the frame redirection (lowering server connections and increasing load speed) and get the cookie problem sorted out. In the mean time , I promise to keep on posting, ranting, yelling and cursing here... I really do :)

Oh... Have you noticed that I passed the 25,000 visitors mark?

Update : After some more finetuning, the template is now quite acceptable for me. I've added the FK Photogallery, my Amazon wishlist, the various link things and removed two CSS errors from the templates. Also caught and removed a spare <div> tag that was floating around causing XHTML1.0 incompatibility.

Oh well

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It seems that the skinning itself is not so difficult - thanks to excellent instructions at Movable Style and A List Apart, yet I can't get it working 100%. It seems to me that even when having an absolute reffer to the stylesheets, it refuses to load them. I'm quite convinced that it has something to do with the fact that the blog base URL and the URL that you see is not the same, but I don't know yet/how to fix that. I've got some ideas though, so I'll look into that tomorrow.

If I can get the blog skinnable for Mozilla Firebird, I'm happy. Sorry for all IE users, but MS decided to go their own way instead of following the W3 standards... not the first time, is it?

Anyway, more to come/change/be added tomorrow. If I can remember it, that is :)

Update : It seems I got the skins working on Mozilla Firebird after all, however the cookie doesn't always seem to stick. Especially not in IE, or Mozilla. More testing needed tomorrow.

Here we are again...

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It seems the initial transfer of things was quite successful. Right now I'm using a standard template - such a 1 in thousand thing - but I intend to change all of that in the next week(s). As you might have noticed, some things are gone for now and some are gone forever. I decided to drop the Comment Top 5 section as I didn't find it worth the space in the layout anymore.

Things that will certainly return are the FK photogallery, wishlist (although no one ever used it) and the Most Recent & Future Lists. Off to work on that now, and to do some finetuning of the CSS.

Wickedness

Be aware that in a few seconds, I'll start working on making this blog more skinnable in the future. This will include replacing the current 3-column with a 2-column layout, moving a whole lot of things around, and general maintenance. It'll look shitty here and there for a while (or a long while) but in the end you should be rewarded with a fresh and squeeky cleen looking friedkitten.com site.

We'll see what happens, right?

Cool!

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I helped Smeg figure out what Track Backs are - well I pointed him in the right direction at least - and he told me what he used to get those cool references to posts in the past to show up.

I took a look at the MT On This Day plugin by Brad Choate and installed it.

I added my regular bits of javascript code and escaped some chars to get the nice title and onmouse over effects to show up as well and now I'm a happy camper once more. Should you wanna add those to your "On This Day" plugin, just ask me, I'll happily share the code I used for it.

Update : Played around with the "Posted by" line a bit more 'coz it to became too long. Abbreviated the year to '02, '01 etc to prevent overflowing when we hit 2004. Shouldn't lower useability, yet improve overall visuals.

Update 2 : Apparently I forgot to include the Track Back popup code when I restored the functionality (I had it stripped out a couple of months ago because I didn't see any real benefits in it). T-Back still functioned, but it was crippled. Not anymore. I should pay more attention when I hack templates and code :)

MT-Blacklist Plugin

I just installed Jay Allen's MT-Blacklist plugin. This entry is only for testing/reporting purposes, but the installation itself was sweeeeet.

If all tests are good and to my liking, I'll install it on two more blogs tomorrow.

Update : Second blog is installed as well, off to do number three now!

Warning

I'm playing around with the templates. Expect all kinds of weird things to be going on.

Update : Done. I changed the long - and getting longer every month - archive list to a pulldown menu, without breaking XHTML compatibility. Go me... Or rather thank the peeps in the MT support forums, they know pretty much everything!

Temporary solutions

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OK... it seems the server move triggered the Control Panel to now correctly report my diskspace used. Where I had 50MB left on the old CP, it now reported the effectively used diskspace : 144MB! My account only comes with 125MB - something I thought I'd never be able to fill - so I'm in a bit of trouble right now.

My host has been so nice to increase my diskspace to a whopping 165MB just for now so I can keep on posting and remove files, or keep the extra allocations and pay more for it.

Not entirely to my suprise, the diskspace hoggers are the photoalbums that I recently added. I'm currently working on a temporary solution to bring down file sizes, but I fear I'll have to delete all albums and upload them again some day. This would also loose all captions already added, and since it's close to 700 pics online now I don't feel like doing all that work again.

Some downtime

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will occur over the next 24 hours as friedkitten.com is moved to a new server and another Network Operations Center (NOC). I'm currently making backups and no data should be lost. We'll be back soon.

Just testing

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some functionality that I've been looking for for a while. Stumbled upon it thanks to Andrew who blogged about it.

Update : This function has been removed since it broke XHTML validation, and that's something I value rather high. Too bad. More info can be found below.

Update Photo gallery

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I just updated the software used for the photo gallery. It only took me 2 reads of the original install instructions and then I slapped myself for chmod'ing some files incorrectly. If the instructions say 777 and I give them 755, I shouldn't be suprised that errors show up when saving the configuration, should I?

Anyway, it's all installed now and the albums have been upgraded. This version is supposed to be (mainly) a bugfix of the previous one and not too much new functions have been added, so I think it's pretty safe. I'll keep an eye on the developers forums though to see if anything shows up that might compromise the server or security.

Beat, new stock & more...

Had fun enjoying the little Alex, but I'm beat now. Will head off to bed kinda early, after I entertained the ferrets.

Bought new stock, and will test the 'more' function of MT to see if I can keep this blog interesting, and still give some extra info about Atmel.

Here we go : "Atmel Takes Lead Position in Secure ICs for Smart Cards with Introduction of High Density CryptoMemory..."

Announcement

The blog will probably go down next week for an overhaul. I'm seriously considering recoding it completely and in the mean time learn how to code according to XML standards. I might also move from Blogger Pro to Movable Type, Greymatter or something else, but I can't remember the name right now. It all depends on how bored I am this weekend and how much spare time I have next week.

A new design will probably be needed too, but since I really am a sorry excuse for a GFX dude, I'm not yet sure about it. Keep your eyes closed by the time I relaunch next weekend, and it might be wise to have some shades and a tube of aspirin nearby.

Testing with title field

I'm just doing some tests with the Title Field setting in Blogger Pro, coz it's needed for RSS, and I might be planning to including that option in the future.

BlogSnob

Have you seen those little links to other blogs on the righthand side menubar? Those are powered by BlogSnob. I've just seen a brilliant link there. I wish I would/could have thought about it myself : "idio - 1 t away from the truth". Check their blog here.

Toying around a bit...

Don't go all freaky on me... I'm just toying around a bit with new ideas and even more CSS thingies. So far it's starting to look better (yepz... it was even worse before this design) but I'm still learning and trying.

Also moved the main page to CSS now

Slowly moving everything over to the new (and by the W3C recommended) stylesheets in CSS2. Been messing things even more up, but now everything seems to be kinda OK, and the stylesheet gets loaded externally. Tested everything with IE5.5 and Opera 6 and both gave me correct results.

Links : W3C CSS Validator

As you might have noticed...

I've totally been fucking up the page :) Yeah I know. I've been doing even more recoding and putting things in CSS stylesheets, but to be quite honest : I know as much about style sheets as I know about women... nothing.

Just been toying around a bit and now I've got all this white space on the right hand side of the screeen and although it was basically the idea, I now have completely no clue what to do with it. Funny, not? First you redesign things, then you start wondering what to do with it. But, there is some good news too!
While playing with the stylesheets, I've learned a whole load of stuff about 'em and I think I might even see the advantages of stylesheets now. Gimme a few more years and I'll fully understand it I suppose. I even managed to throw out about 33% or so of the stylesheet and still have the same result, so that should speed things up even more. Who knows.... maybe one day this site might even become enjoyable?!

When I just loaded the page, I ran into an 'undefined' error in the quote script. Pretty strange, however when I looked at the code I quickly pinpointed the problem. Should be solved now. Added another line to the script while I was at it :)

Stuck without a life...I'm thinking about putting up some sort of link section as well, but don't know yet how or what... and definately not why. 'Coz everyone has one might be a valid reason, but I think it sucks. If everybody jumps off a cliff, do you jump too? It doesn't always pay off to follow the masses. On the other hand, running in the opposite direction is not always the correct solution either.

These are the mysteries of life as we know it today. I have no life, so I don't have to ask myself these questions. Leaves me with more time to do other things. The only problem then being that since I don't have I life, I don't need things to fill it with. Brings me right back to the start, doesn't it?

I am hacking up the page... no worries!

I'm trying some new designs on a live page, so things might look pretty messed up every once in a while. Just keep focussed and everything will end up OK in the end ;-)

This is the end.... it's time to hit the bed now, and the design sucks even more as it did before I started working on it. The nice lady in the background of the menu is gone, and instead it has some weird jumpy lines. This can't be good, can it?
Actually... it isn't good, but I really suck at GFX design. My initial idea was to recode the header section of the site, and I ended up doing the menu section. I also suck in managing myself and my creativity (or the lack of it).

If you think it would be better to just leave it all to the pro's, please don't tell me. I know. ;-(

All the photograps are online...

So the only thing left for me to do now, is to write the final words... to summarize the week I spend in Finland.

And here we go :

bye bye Finland...

  • Finland is cold and snowy : wrong... not all the time

  • Finland has as much woods as I expected : correct

  • Hilda, Nadia & Karen are awsome ladies and fun to have around : definately true!!

  • It's always good to get back home : true

  • I speak and understand russian fluently : not a chance!


Only thing left to say here is this :

Hilda, Nadia, Karen...

Kiitos!

Good and Bad News about

Good and Bad News about the site

It seems reblogger went totally down due the free host that was hosting it for Jesse kicked him off, but he moved it over to a pay host and it's working again now. I've changed some code around and you can actually leave new comments, but all the old ones are lost so it seems. According to the Reblogger site, there won't be a way to recover them, so I feel a bit depressed for losing them all, but on the other hand : leave some new ones and I'll be happy again ;)

I also was able to get the link to the pictures in the template after all, thanks to a fix that another blogger user found to pass the irritating blogger error where you can't save your edited template. Makes no sense? Ofcourse it doesn't, but it's a bit techy :)

See ya all for a new update in a few hours.

More things that don't go

More things that don't go as planned

I've just noticed that the javascript for one reason or another doesn't work in Opera. This probably is because Opera follows does strict implementation of the standards as set by the W3, better known as the World Wide Web Consortium. That ofcourse does not solve the problem that some people who log on to friedkitten.com might not see the archives. I'll be recoding the page tonite and make sure that there will be an extra link for browsers that choke on the javascript implementation of it.

Boring update news.. things ain't

Boring update news.. things ain't going as planned!

Just been busy another few hours adding new stuff to friedkitten.com, mostly just cosmetic details, but I like to tune everything just fine. However, as you can obviously see, the archives do work (thanks to Phil Ringnalda for the fab scripting) but the white space below the drop down menu keeps bugging me. I've changed the script, added and removed lines.... but it seems I'm stuck with the fact that javascript somehow adds a line below where it executes. (I'm referring to the two white lines below the HOME | CONTACT | FEEDBACK links). Actually the idea was to code it all into one line, but as I couldn't find a way to do it right away, I kinda skipped it for now... but hey, there's always tomorrow!

Got an e-mail from work this afternoon that I'll be required to travel to brussels every day till august 24th, and that basically is a very very bad idea... but they don't know that yet! Never ever try to take my toys away, or stuff me in a strict office regime (you know... start at 9, quit at 5) for all hell will break loose.

Last time I went off to brussels to test the new software I actually used the software and created some payments from a (as far as I knew) fake account. Next day one of the higher brids of the test team comes inquiring about some payments for a total value of over $33,000... Luckily the payments were blocked by the banks, but they'll never forget my name!

Enuff crap for now, I'm gonna hit the sack, although it's still pretty early for me...

Kick Off @ friedkitten.com

Kick Off @ friedkitten.com

I'm quicly developing a headache. It's not from a lack of sex (... yeah right!) but rather from working (... yeah right again!) on this box the last 7 hours straight. Maybe it would be about time to stop the bit beaming and start a tour of duty in the real world. What do you mean, real world? This ain't the real world? Damn! Zoink! re:boot completed. Administrator logged off. Account disabled.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the FK Site News category.

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